Who could possibly blame our Education Secretary of State for swearing about how unfairly she’d been treated after a tough interview about the crumbling state of our schools?
Wasn’t austerity wildly popular? Haven’t we (that is, the Tories) delivered on our holy mission to give more to the wealthy and f*** the less deserving? Haven’t we created the more unequal society our backers so earnestly desired (it’s the only kind of society in which they can get as rich as they do)? And isn’t this agenda almost wholly supported by the opposition, who run scared at the very suspicion that they are not on the same page, with no increase to the top level of income tax, no changes to capital gains tax and a raft of ambitions thrown overboard to please the very same people who the Tories suck up to?
There’s no hint how Labour would solve the crumbling schools crisis—Liz Kendall, a newly appointed Blairite Shadow Cabinet member, interviewed this evening had nothing but gooey tasteless syrup to offer in place of actual medicine. We have now entered the domain of what I will call Placebo Politics.* I am sure this could explain why voters may prefer a complete nutter to be in charge. They may think their pill could actually have something in it.
*I am alas not the first to coin this phrase. A headline using the words appeared in the Guardian (3/6/2004) atop an article by David Clark. He wrote (better than I could):
‘In the past decade, the main parties have converged around an "end of history" consensus based on the primacy of markets and the limitations of government. The very nature of this consensus undermines the public realm by emphasising market-based solutions as the answer to our problems. If even progressives appear to believe that the private sector is inherently superior to the public sector, it is inevitable that people will come to see themselves as consumers fighting for advantage in an atomised market instead of citizens empowered to act together by the opportunity to vote.’
A generation hasn’t changed much. A global financial crisis and a pandemic didn’t even scratch the surface of the ‘consensus.’ Capitalism doesn’t appear to possess a suicide pill.